SCR-I shuts out Schuyler County 37-0 in opener of Class 1 District 5 playoffs.

Mason Kliethermes chases down the Schuyler County quarterback for a sack. The Tigers’ linebacker led the SCR-I defensive efforts in shutting out the Rams 37-0 in the district opener.

A dominating defensive performance with a few big plays on offense sprinkled in. That was the recipe for success on Friday night for Scotland County as the Tigers cooked up a 37-0 win over Schuyler County in the opening round of district play to extend the 2017 football season at least another week.

Mason Kliethermes set the tone for the Tigers defense on the first play from scrimmage when he tackled the Rams runner for a four-yard loss. But after a good run by quarterback Riley Veatch left Schuyler needing just a yard to move the chains, the SCR-I stuffed a pair of runs to force the turnover on downs and give SCR-I excellent field position.

SCR-I started out going backwards, as Will Fromm was sacked for an 11 yard loss. That all changed on third down when Fromm connected with Matthew Woods on a 52-yard touchdown pass. Gage Dodge booted the point after attempt through the uprights to give SCR-I a 7-0 lead with 8:09 left in the first period.

A deep kickoff by Fromm forced the Rams’ return man to backtrack inside the five-yard line and Brett Monroe led the special teams swarm of tacklers to pen Schuyler inside the 10-yard line. Schuyler lost yards when Parker Triplett, Bryson Orton, and Kliethermes engulfed a run attempt by Veatch for a three-yard loss. The next try fared no better as Triplett and Orton combined for another tackle for a loss, this time resulting in a safety, to extend the SCR-I lead to 9-0.

The Rams’ free kick from the 20-yard line resulted in excellent field position again for SCR-I as Jace Morrow returned the ball 23-yards all the way to the 37-yard line.

A penalty backed up the SCR-I offense, but Fromm was able to connect with Gage Dodge for an 18-yard gain to move the chains. Jaydan Payne had a pair of runs for first downs, giving the Tigers the ball at the 11-yard line. But after another penalty backed up SCR-I, the Tigers were unable to score, turning the ball over on downs.

After Schuyler went three and out with a punt, SCR-I was right back in scoring position as Dodge returned the ball all the way to the 35 and a face mask penalty versus the Rams moved the ball to the 20-yard line. A 14-yard run by Payne gave the Tigers the ball first and goal. It took four tries, but the Tigers finally got the ball in the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Fromm to extend the lead to 16-0 with 11:19 left in the second quarter.

That is where the halftime score remained as SCR-I was unable to turn a pair of Schuyler County turnovers into any points.

Dodge picked off a Schuyler County pass and returned it across midfield. But a pair of penalties backed up the Tigers and forced a punt.

Payne recovered a fumble on the next Rams’ possession, but again the drive ended in a punt for SCR-I.

Schuyler County looked poised to cut into the lead as the first half neared an end. Veatch moved his team into scoring position, before Kliethermes recorded a big quarterback sack, leaving SCR-I enough time for one final drive.

Payne broke a 38-yard run that again had SCR-I in a first and goal to go situation. The Rams defense held and forced a field goal attempt that went wide left, leaving the score at 16-0 at the intermission.

That didn’t last long in the third period. Just two plays into the second half, SCR-I extended the lead to 23-0 when Fromm broke a 66-yard touchdown run.

Will Fromm blasts through the Schuyler County defense en route to a 66-yard touchdown run to start the third quarter.

A sack by Grant McRobert forced the Rams to go three and out with a punt but after Fromm moved the ball across midfield with a 19-yard run, SCR-I ultimately turned the ball over on downs.

A sack by Orton ended the Rams’ next possession on downs, and this time SCR-I answered with its second score of the third period when Fromm connected with Dodge on a 15-yard TD pass to push the margin to 30-0 with 2:22 on the clock.

Bryson Orton puts the pressure on the Schuyler County quarterback.

The Rams again turned the ball over on downs starting the fourth quarter. Payne pounded away at the Rams with runs of 10, 10 and 15-yards before Morrow finished off the drive with a seven-yard TD run to make the score 37-0 with 8:40 and force a running clock the remainder of the night.

Even with several back-ups in the contest, the Tigers’ defense secured the shutout, stopping the Rams’ final drive with key tackles by Branton Burrus and Conner Harrison. Kaden Anders sealed the deal with an interception in the end zone.

Scotland County’s defense limited the Rams to just 98 yards of total offense on the night. Kliethermes led the way with 10 tackles. SCR-I sacked Veatch three times and Dodge and Anders added interceptions to hold Schuyler County to zero yards passing.

Fromm ran the ball for a season high 110-yards, and two TDs. Payne racked up 131 yards on 17 carries. Fromm completed five of 13 passes for 103 yards and two TDs. Dodge had three receptions for 42 yards and a TD.

Scotland County improved to 6-4 on the season and advances to the Class 1 District 5 semifinals to play at South Shelby on Friday night. The Cardinals blanked Paris 43-0. Monroe City blasted Louisiana 62-6 and Mark Twain edged Knox County 36-32 in the other district openers. Those two squads will face off Friday in Monroe City in the other district semifinal.